Last two weeks I spent in Belgrade, on a mission I named “Wisdom tooth”. And… Mission accomplished! I don’t have any wisdom teeth left in my jaw. Yay! All four are out now. I know you’re dying to know more about it, so I’ll make sure to write about this in a separate blog post. 😀And… guess what – all of this is just a part of a much bigger mission: “Hollywood teeth” (orthodontic therapy). Yeah, I know, I should have written about it, too. I promise I’ll make it up to you.
But… what’s with the “greetings from the quarantine”, you’re asking? Oh, well… let me tell ya…
I came back to Germany yesterday, after two weeks spent in Belgrade (spent mostly in bed, recovering from the surgery, chasing lady luck i.e. business ideas on the Internet and learning about the working of stock markets). As naive as I am, I honestly thought that it would be an easy thing to do – fly from Berlin to Belgrade, get things done and fly right back to Berlin amid ongoing pandemic. Serbian news were all about the “summer season opening” and “easing of COVID-19 restrictions“, so I was totally optimistic about the whole endeavour. In addition, travellers from Serbia were one of the few (outside the EU, of course) to be allowed unrestricted entry in the EU zone during the pandemic.
I was supposed to have the wisdom tooth surgery done back in March, but then the whole world suddenly came to a halt because of the Corona virus and unfortunately it had to be postponed to a later date. The moment air traffic was re-established, I rebooked the tickets and hoped for the best.
Flying to Belgrade was really easy-peasy, everything seemed to have came back to normal after months of Covid restrictions: getting to the airport went really smooth, check-in also went totally smooth, security control, passport control, boarding… everything worked like a charm. Just like the good old days. If it weren’t for the bloody mask. From the moment you enter city transportation in Berlin until the moment you exit the airport building in Belgrade – you’re obliged to wear a mask covering your mouth and nose. But, ok. That’s really no biggie and something that’s relatively easy to get used to.
On the way back I had a totally different story: red eye flight in the early morning hours. Airport Belgrade recommends all passengers to be at the airport three hours ahead of the scheduled departure due to COVID-19 restrictions. In my case this meant being at the airport at ca. 4 AM. Oh, man. But me, a smartass, I thought: I’ll check-in online and then I wouldn’t have to be at the airport three hours before departure… I mean, c’mon. Three hours for a short haul flight? That’s crazy. Something went wrong with the online check-in, so I called the customer service: “Due to current situation and travel restrictions, you can check-in online only if you are holding the passport of the EU country you’re flying to“. Duh. OK, never mind… I guess I’ll be getting up in the middle of the night then…
Arrived at the airport. Some Greek guy in front of me has been questioned by the check-in staff as if he was some kind of a criminal suspect: “Where are you flying to?” “Why?” “Do you live in Germany?” “Do you have a registration certificate showing that you live in Germany?” “Show me any other proof that you reside in Germany.” Poor guy was just shrugging his shoulders and turning to his travel companion, as if he was desparately asking for an answer or support. Under normal circumstances, EU citizens can travell accross EU countries without any restrictions, so this treatment must have been quite a surprise for the poor guy.
And then it was my turn… I approached the check-in desk and immediately started taking out all kinds of documents which I had on me, which would prove that I actually live in Germany. The young lady at the check-in then said: “Sir, there is no need for you to act like that. Please wait a moment”. And then she called her boss. Normally I’m an optimistic person, but at that moment, at that airport I felt like “this must be the place where optimism comes to die”.
Luckily, check-in supervisor decided that I presented enough evidence of my living in Germany and she had her young colleague check me in.
I immediately went upstairs to the passport control area… Dudes, you’ve never seen such a dystopic scene: the whole floor was literally empty. Empty. Not a soul. Just two young ladies standing in front of the long passport control queue, who would normally be steering hundreds of passengers, one for business passengers and one for economy. Other than those two and myself there were no passengers, no employees, no one. Everything was so quiet. Pripyat mode. I’ve never cleared passport control that quickly. Five seconds all together: “Good morning”. Check. Stamp. “Have a nice flight”. Crazy shit…
Upon arrival I was getting ready to rush through the passport control and head right home. But unfortunately that was not the case. Again, two young (police-)women and a bunch of questions: “Where are you coming from?” “What is the purpose of your visit to Germany?” etc. Oh, man. Ladies. I live here. This is my “home”.
I’ve been away, now I’m returning “home”. “Please show me your registration certificate”, she asked. But I didn’t have the bloody registration certificate on me. I mean, who in the world would be carrying on them a document printed on an A4 paper? Who? “Many travellers have this document on them. Please write down your home address here and we’ll check” …and she handed me a ballpen and her official notebook with the light blue cover and lettering “Bundespolizei”. What? Now she’ll have my address written in her police notebook, as if I was some kind of criminal case?
“Here lady… you see…” again I took out all of my documents: my German driver’s licence, my German health insurance card, my German Mastercard, my… uh… Dudes. Let me tell you one thing: if you find yourself in situations where you feel like you’re on candid camera too often, most probably you’re doing something wrong. I think of this everytime I get this feeling… ah, never mind… you know what happened then? The moment I wrote down the address and handed back the notebook, the other policewoman hung up the phone and turned to her colleague: “It’s ok. You can let him in”.
“Sir, before you go… please take these documents and study them carefully” said the policewoman.
“Ok, I will. Thank you. Have a nice day!” I replied and went to catch the bus…
Once I was sitting in the bus I read the heading of the documents I just received at the border control: “Regulation for persons entering Germany in connection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2“. Oh, no… Dear travellers, … blabla bla… if you’ve spent any time within 14 days prior to entering Germany in a country which is designated as risk area by Robert Koch Institute… proceed directly to… quarantine… and remain there exclusively for a period of 14 days. Moreover, you are required to contact the local health office without delay and inform the latter of your entry into the country.
So I contacted local “Gesundheitsamt” (health office) upon arrival and now I’ll be sitting at home for the next two weeks. Perfect chance to make some money on the stock exchange… haha 🤑